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Health Care Lobbying Costs

March 23, 2010

On Sunday, Congress passed Health Care Reform legislation and while it is too early too know what this all means we do know how much effort was put into lobbying around this issue in the past year.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics the number of registered federal lobbyists just on health care for 2009 was 1,541. “These clients span special interest groups and economic sectors, ranging from more traditional health players such as hospitals, medical professionals, health insurers and drug companies to more diverse interests including organized labor, business groups, energy companies, food and beverage companies, defense contractors, retailers, municipalities, universities and religious-affiliated groups.”

The Center for Responsive Politics tracked this lobbying effort by fiscal quarters, because that is when federal reporters are published disclosing who registered as a lobbyist. The CRP found that there were 326 entities, which lobbied all four quarters for the fiscal year 2009.

Some of theses entities were: the “Drug industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), insurance industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pfizer, Planned Parenthood, the National Right to Life Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, AARP, the Service Employees International Union, the National Council of La Raza, United Parcel Service, Target, Safeway, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and McDonald’s.”

At look at the drug company Pfizer and you see that they spent $21,930,000 in 2009 lobbying members of Congress. The US Chamber of Commerce, one of the most aggressive lobbyists on this issue spent $144,496,000 lobbying Congress on health care reform in 2009.

One thing to keep in mind of course is that we still don’t have the figures for how much lobby money was spent for the first quarter of 2010, which is no doubt in the billions of dollars. This should tell us something about how “democracy” works in this country and who the primary beneficiaries are of legislative decisions.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Wheeler permalink
    March 23, 2010 3:04 pm

    Jeff, is there any kind of breakdown that indicates if the money went toward pro-reform or anti-reform legislators? The reason I’m asking is that I’m trying to figure out if health care reform as passed was a giant bailout for the industry.

    Does it make anyone else nervous that the day after this bill passed, health insurance company and pharmeceutical stocks went UP?

  2. March 23, 2010 3:09 pm

    Kate, all of the data on who received money in Congress is not in, but here is a link to the most recent data. http://www.opensecrets.org/capital_eye/health.php. It would appear that Democrats have received more than the Republicans.

  3. Kate Wheeler permalink
    March 23, 2010 3:51 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks, Jeff.

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